About the coast
The Kenyan coast is lined by seemingly endless white beaches that stretch from the southern border with Tanzania, up to Lamu, on the northeastern shores bordering Somalia.Here you will find an eclectic mix of history and culture, submerged in the exquisite Indian Ocean coastline.
About 2000 years ago the Bantu ancestors of the coastal Swahili people settled, and then reached the shores of Kenya’s coast. Arab traders began frequenting the Kenya coast around the first century AD. By around 500 AD, traders from the Persian Gulf, southern India and Indonesia were also trading with East Africa. By AD1000 a well-established maritime trade network with Arabia and Asia was flourishing. The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama was the first European to discover the city of Mombasa while on a voyage around Africa to find the sea route to India in 1498.
Mombasa, the second largest city in Kenya after Nairobi, is a bustling city of narrow streets, combi van taxis ‘matatus’; three wheel taxis ‘tuktuks’, and motor bike taxis ‘bodabodas’; street vendors, hawkers, and shops that sell everything imaginable from one nail to a BMW making up a vibrant culture.
To the south lies Diani Beach, accessible either by direct flight to Ukunda airfield or by a ferry crossing and a 30 km drive. Diani Beach is a long, idyllic stretch of palm-fringed white beach with a variety of resorts, boutique hotels, apartments, watersports centers, restaurants, and little shops selling anything you can imagine to find on a African stretch of beach.